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Silmarillion, Chapter 14: Much, much more on the geography of Beleriand and its Realms

telain
Rohan

May 22 2013, 11:54pm


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Silmarillion, Chapter 14: Much, much more on the geography of Beleriand and its Realms Can't Post

This may be a superfluous post, (even super-fluvious if you count how much time spent on Sirion and Gelion) but I thought a few more specific questions about this chapter were in order. And speaking of order, it seems only fitting to proceed geographically!

the Northern Lands:

Hisilome, (Hithlum, Land of Mist). Was anyone else disappointing to learn that the "mist" is composed of clouds issuing forth from Morgoth? In Tolkien's works, I usually think of "mist' as a vaguely positive thing associated with the Elves and concealment, as in In the Twilight Meres (courtesy of Melian). Does/Did it -- to borrow a term from Maciliel -- "squick" you out to think of (Fingolfin et al) breathing in Morgoth-generated mist?

Nevrast, (Hither Shore). What was the appeal of Nevrast for Turgon? Sure, it had a mild climate, but the landscape is described as "hollow" and marshy with a rather large undefined lake (Linaewen) in the centre. In fact, most of his people settled the edge of the land around Mt. Taras and Turgon at Vinyamar. But here is where the "mingling of the Noldor and Sindar came to pass soonest..." Hmmm. I can only ask "Why?" What about this landscape would ... inspire... mingling? Was it really the Come-Hither Shore?

And then there is Dorthonion, (Land of Pines), the choice of Aegnor and Angrod. To me it sounds rather like a mountainous Scandinavian or western Canadian landscape with pine trees, tarns (mountains lakes) and tors (high, craggy hills often lacking vegetation). The gentle slopes are on the northern side, with the precipitous drop of death on the southern. While I understand the military advantage of the higher ground, is there nowhere for Angrod and Aegnor to go if Morgoth should attack? (again, it would be helpful to know exactly where Thangorodrim is in relation to Dorthonion. It must be close, as it is the route that Ungoliant took in her flight from Morgoth...) As a terrified dwarven scribe once wrote: "We cannot get out!"


West Beleriand:

Nargothrond and the Falas. Finrod and Cirdan rebuild the havens of Brithombar and Eglarest, complete with towns and harbours, and I imagine these places were spectacular. However, I am never very clear about sizes and/or numbers in Tolkien -- how many lived in Brithombar and/or Eglarest? Were these fairly large cities, small towns?

They also built the tower of Barad Nimras -- though it seems Morgoth was no sea-farer, since

Quote
Water all his servants shunned, and to the sea none would willingly go nigh, save in dire need

. Would Cirdan and Fingon not have guessed this, or just being extra cautious? Surely in the many skirmishes they noticed that water was a problem for the orcs.
Is the water hazard Ulmo's doing and does it apply everywhere?


And then there is Doriath, a.k.a Eglador, (Land of the Fence). The northern part was Neldoreth (beech trees), which must have been absolutely lovely -- those silver (and copper) trunks! But I found it strange that the "dark river Esgalduin" flows though Doriath, essentially cutting it in two. The very same river that flows from Nan Dungortheb, presumably not potable, since "the thin waters that spilled from Ered Gorgoroth were defiled, and perilous to drink." So, Elves, Edain and Dwarves are not permitted passage, but a dark, defiled river is? Is Melian off her game, or am I misinterpreting something? Does the river become purified by passing though Doriath?

And Melian extended her Girdle around the Nivrim (oak trees of the West March) so that: "...some portion of the Sirion which she loved in reference of Ulmo should be wholly under the power of Thingol." Thingol was self-proclaimed High-king of Beleriand --why not put all of the Sirion under his power? I could go on, but I find with T&M I have too many questions. And quizzical expressions. Or am I missing something important that puts T&M's actions and decisions into better light? What say you?

The Sirion, as described by one "curious' Reading Room Fellow (and several others, I just wanted to write "curious Fellow"), is a character all his own. I found the description of the river as differences in vegetation rather interesting: pine in the north (Orodreth), to the Forest of Brethil (didn't know you had a forest!) which is birch, then Nan-tathren (willows) and finally the reeds of the great delta. He is also fed by many mountain streams, ending in a great flood in the Bay of Balar, but throughout his courses, he is a mountain stream, he is stagnant, he forms several great waterfalls... What does this tell you about his character? Why might he be special to Ulmo, as Melian seems to believe?

and a bridge to East Beleriand...Compare the Sirion to the Gelion which flows swiftly and falls-less through the steady slope of the plain of East Beleriand and at his end he is twice as long (though not as wide) as the Sirion. Does the Gelion ever get jealous that he is Ulmo's second favourite? At least he doesn't seem to take it out on the people who inhabit his banks...

As an aside: the Sirion has (if I understand correctly) several Falls, but the Narog has a deep gorge. In hydrogeographical terms, one might guess that the Narog is then older than the Sirion (i.e., has had more time to erode a gorge through the elevations). Seems odd, eh? The Narog also is associated with the Taur-en-Faroth (Forest of Hunters.) Who were these hunters and what were they hunting?


the Northeast:
Maedhros dwells upon the Hill of Himring (the Ever-cold) and dwelt afterward on Amon Ereb, the place of the Nandor chieftain Denethor's death as he aided Thingol. Well, that does seem to strengthen Maedhros' nobility, doesn't it? Celegorm and Curufin fortified the Pass of Aglon, where a bitter wind always blew, and Caranthir fortified the eastern side of Maglor's Gap. In fact, it seems the Sons of Feanor only rarely rode south to hunt -- but then there is Amrod and Amras, tucked away in the southeast... Do you feel some of Feanor's sons took a slightly softer road than others? Though it was said that the Noldor and SIndar mingled in Nevrast -- was there mingling of the Green-elves of Ossiriand and Amrod and Amras' people?

Ossiriand: What is the significance of the Seven Rivers? These tributaries don't seem to have as much character as the Gelion, so what are they contributing? What does this landscape look like? Can you see several of these rivers at once, or is the land too flat?

And what of the Green-elves of Ossiriand? And the Nandor (Denethor's people)? We've touched on them in a few discussions, but they still seem a mystery. Was it their woodcraft that makes them not only a mystery to us, but to the Noldor as well? sador mentioned that Ossirian might be a "copy" of the original Nandor habitations along the southern (Lebennin) Anduin -- possible?


This is a long post, but I would like to end it with a quote that Maciliel found from Morgoth's Ring, as it may illuminate some aspects of the Elves that we can compare to the landscapes they inhabit.


Quote
"Other names in song and tale are given to these peoples. The Vanyar are the Blessed Elves, and the Spear-elves, the Elves of the Air, the friends of the Gods, the Holy elves and the Immortal, and the Children of Ingwe; they are the Fair Folk and the White.

The Noldor are the Wise, and the Golden, the Valiant, the Sword-elves, the elves of the Earth, the Foes of Melkor, the Skilled of Hand, the Jewel-wrights, the Companions of Men, the Followers of Finwe.

The Teleri are the Foam-riders, the Singers of the Shore, the Free, and the Swift, and the Arrow-elves; they are the Elves of the Sea, the Ship-wrights, the Swanherds, the Gatherers of Pearl, the Blue Elves, the people of Olwe.

The Nandor are the Host of Dan, the Wood-elves, the Wandereres, the Axe-elves, the Green Elves and the Brown, the Hidden People; and those that came at last to Ossiriand are the Elves of the Seven Rivers, the Singers Unseen, the Kingless, the Weaponless, and the Lost Folk, for they are now no more.

The Sindar are the Lemberi, the Lingerers; they are the Friends of Osse, the Elves of the Twilight, the Silvern, the Enchanters, the Wards of Melian, the Kindred of Luthien, the people of Elwe."


and that seems like more than enough from me!


(This post was edited by telain on May 22 2013, 11:57pm)

Subject User Time
Silmarillion, Chapter 14: Much, much more on the geography of Beleriand and its Realms telain Send a private message to telain May 22 2013, 11:54pm
    More wonderful Mappy thoughts ;-) Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 23 2013, 12:46am
        sibling rivalry and the elements telain Send a private message to telain May 23 2013, 3:13pm
    Another one?! sador Send a private message to sador May 23 2013, 8:09am
        Hydrophobic bad guys noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 23 2013, 1:02pm
            yes, sometimes Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 1:49pm
                Zombie-proofing Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 23 2013, 4:52pm
                    as you Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 5:15pm
                        O-M-G !!!! YES!!!! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 23 2013, 8:07pm
                            lmdao! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 8:15pm
                                A word from our sponsors noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 23 2013, 8:50pm
                                    Those of us who aren't Wizards must take steps...! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 23 2013, 8:56pm
                                    i am Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 10:23pm
                                Martha Stewart vs The Zombies CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 23 2013, 9:06pm
                                    "unless hair spray is a zombie repellent--has anyone tried it?"- oddly, no.. noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 23 2013, 9:36pm
                                    you know, the funniest thing... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 9:46pm
            as long as it is running water... telain Send a private message to telain May 23 2013, 3:51pm
                bear grylls Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 4:03pm
                Could JRRT have used the folklore to inspire his depiction of Ulmo? Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 23 2013, 4:50pm
                    'Ear, what did you say? Brethil's done it again! elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 May 23 2013, 5:37pm
                        The Lobe Wolf...nice catch Elaen! ;-) Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 23 2013, 8:02pm
                    I like where that idea is going... telain Send a private message to telain May 24 2013, 6:33pm
                        am i remembering correctly? Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 24 2013, 6:40pm
                            Yes, Frodo shuddered at the touch of the unclean water on his feet// noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 24 2013, 7:47pm
                                yes, but... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 24 2013, 7:51pm
                                    Yes, specifically stagnant. "When they came..." noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 24 2013, 8:00pm
                                        that would be a good reason to get ebooks telain Send a private message to telain May 24 2013, 9:04pm
                                            Try it & see!// noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 24 2013, 9:12pm
                                        yes, but... Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 24 2013, 9:12pm
                                            ...and unmappetizingly scant with geographic illustrations. // Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 24 2013, 9:58pm
        best laid schemes of Elves and Men... telain Send a private message to telain May 23 2013, 3:39pm
            Back on topic (tearing ourselves away from zombies...like a dismembered limb) Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 24 2013, 12:28am
    apologies to telain Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 23 2013, 10:27pm
        who am I? telain Send a private message to telain May 24 2013, 6:39pm
            ha! : ) Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 24 2013, 6:43pm
                I do love that scene in the films telain Send a private message to telain May 24 2013, 6:47pm
                    omimanwe --- Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 24 2013, 6:54pm
    geography in the context of time Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 24 2013, 12:34pm
        very helpful telain Send a private message to telain May 24 2013, 6:51pm
        Great time scale references Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 24 2013, 7:28pm
    Questions and tidbits CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 24 2013, 11:51pm
        great, thoughtful post, curiousg Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 25 2013, 12:04am
            Messy tapestries CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 25 2013, 12:19am
                well, at least Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 25 2013, 12:42am
            Refuges noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme May 25 2013, 10:00am
                Refuges elaen32 Send a private message to elaen32 May 25 2013, 4:18pm
                    Another real-world parallel? Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 25 2013, 4:45pm
                        And that makes sense too CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 4 2013, 1:15pm
                            All this agreement Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jun 4 2013, 8:46pm
                Still getting caught up CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 4 2013, 1:07pm
        More questions and tidbits back: rivers Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 25 2013, 12:08am
            Rivers CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 25 2013, 12:25am
            I enjoy going south... telain Send a private message to telain May 25 2013, 2:32am
        Great imagery point here about the Sun Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 25 2013, 12:43am
            I second that and would add telain Send a private message to telain May 25 2013, 2:43am
                I glimpse something here too Telain Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 25 2013, 6:22am
                    light and subcreation -- and letter #131!!!!! Maciliel Send a private message to Maciliel May 25 2013, 1:38pm
                        The joy of #131! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil May 25 2013, 3:37pm
                        Beehive buzzing with points CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Jun 4 2013, 1:45pm
                            Hmm - interesting about Narya... Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Jun 4 2013, 8:05pm
    Some answers CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG May 25 2013, 12:13am
        and some misty-headed responses telain Send a private message to telain May 25 2013, 3:08am

 
 
 

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